Welcome to Down The Lane

1st - 13th. August

Well, this is a bit of a shock, it's exactly a fortnight since the last entry - whatever next!

Although I love the Cricket and everyone there, I have to say it's been good to have a couple of weeks off. It's allowed me to et on and finish a few things I started about three years ago and tend to the everyday jobs like gardening etc.

My son Leo started a full time job last week and smack bang on target, lost his voice with Laryngitis the day before. As he felt OK and no one wanted him to get any worse, I drove him to work every day. This meant a 12 mile round trip starting aT 0650, again at 1545 and finally at 2200, so the days were somewhat worked around all that.
Luckily he seems to have got over it now - the day before I start again !

But if I didn't have the job and other work I have, I wouldn't have been able to help at all, so all's well.

One thing I have done is to put the finishing touches to my Garden HQ (see right). I put the door shelter in, patched up a few airy bits, made a vent in the wall and put some guttering up.
That's where I haven't quite finished. As I don't have a water container and can't afford one, for now, the guttering is slightly over size in length and the water off the roof efficiently flows into the flower bed.

The time off has also allowed me to add one or two pages in the main Web Site and three in the Blog, so that's improving.

I thought the idea of fencing off the top of the garden and allowing the chickens out without eating the vegetables was a good one.
It worked in so far as vegetables go, but I wrongfully thought they wouldn't wander off into the surrounding six feet high stinging nettles. Upon returning from the other end of the garden I found five missing.
It was about 6pm when I started looking and about 6.45pm by the time I'd finally rounded them all up.

I didn't know what to buy Leo for his 20th. birthday, but upon looking at his Bicycle, my mind was made up! He is now with brand new Bike and I have his old one which I shall repair and use for myself. Sure I'll look stupid going around on a Silver Mountain Bike with go fast stripes, but who cares. If it gets me up to the shops and back in less than two hours, that's OK. The shops by the way are about one mile up the Lanes!

I've even found time to tidying up the Shed this week and I now have five neat boxes for my tools. You know, Hand tools in one, Spanners etc. in another and so on.

Of course, I realize this isn't going to last for more than about three days, but you do feel a sense of achievement don't you.
Like all normal blokes, I decided to leave the few screws scattered around places like the bedside cupboard, all fireplaces, various pots, jars, glasses, drawers, shower soap dish etc. You never know when you're going to need them in emergency and isn't it always so that you can find exactly the right screw for the job using this method. Should I have put them with the other screws in the box, I'd never be able to find them.

The end of next week sees the start of another long run of Cricket, about two weeks. This finishes with a Hospital Appointment and five days looking after the Grand kids in Southampton.

The only way of getting the Grandchildren out when I'm there is saying we're going for a Happy Meal, but they usually wish they hadn't taken up the Offer because I have one as well and ask for a refund on the grounds it has not made me any happier and it's against the Trades Descriptions Act..

Before I know it, Autumn will be here. I've already started bringing back wood from the fields and have kept a close eye on my 'secret' Horseradish supply down there. It looks a bumper crop this year, so late August will see some runny eyes and sore nostrils !

Finally, in the garden, everything is fine and we're eating Carrots, Runner Beans and Salads. I'm hoping by the time of the next entry, he Tomatoes will start off as well (this usually happens when I'm away!).
In fact, I'm a tad worried, it's not like me to have things fairly under control, so I've asked the cats not to kill the Mice stealing the baby Courgettes - I feel more comfortable that way !

14th - 26th. August 2009

Once again I reach the time of the year where two things are happening; the end of the Cricket Season and the beginning of harvesting plus general foraging around for nature's freebies. A busy time.

In the garden and around the fields much is happening. The Tomatoes are ripening faster than we can make stuff from them, the Runner Beans are abundant and filling up the Freezer, Carrots galore and plenty of Onions etc.

It's strange growing 90% in Containers as these are spread all around the Garden. On paper it looks like we haven't much, but collectively, it's good.

I've been busy picking Blackberries at the Cricket Ground (much to the dislike of out Scorer who isn't there as much as me!!) and these will soon be made into Jam and various mixtures along with Apples from the disused Orchard. Plenty of Crumbles afoot I think.

Yesterday I sprained just about every muscle in my body digging up about half of the Horseradish down on the Field. It's really stony down there and needed Fork, Spade, Trowel and hands to get up the main amount of roots.
Next week I shall make the long lasting Sauce for Winter. As a taster I made a couple of spoonfuls for my Beef last night. You're supposed to leave it a few days, but I went for it and I doubt if I shall have a blocked up nose for about the next three weeks!

Whilst down there, I had a quick stroll round the Woods and once again, there's ample dead wood to last me all through the winter. Next week I shall start my yearly collecting, something I love doing on a late Summer / early Autumn day. It gives you time to think but most of all, gives you the realization that we're all part of one thing - nature.

The last week has been extremely hot and the grass which only two weeks ago was a lush green is now a dirty brown. The Chickens don't take too well to the weather and have seeked shelter amongst the Nettles or in their food shelter most of the time.
Apparently, tomorrow see's the tail end of a Hurricane with tropical side effects of wind, heat and rain, so if there's no entry in two weeks from now, it's because I haven't got a Shed left and the Garden's under six feet of water. No doubt the birds would survive way better than me !

At work, I have a six day stint starting tomorrow, then 10 days off, another 5 days, a fortnight off and finishing with 3 days at the end of September. The Cricket Team have experienced a really good spell of late, with exception of the twenty/20 finals in Birmingham, where it was not our day.

The week before last I had the pleasure of hosting the Australian Cricket Team in the Dressing Rooms; a very approachable and tidy Team indeed. Although I am over the moon about England winning the Ashes, I hope it doesn't take away the fact of what a fine Cricketer and Captain Ricky Ponting is.

Immediately after that I went to Southampton to Grand Child sit for five days. As always, with exception of the occasional "I'm sure Mummy wouldn't mind Pop", they were well behaved and generally chilled out. On the second day we went out for a Happy Meal at the local Burger establishment. It may have been happy for them, but after eating mine cold because of the "Can I have another Ketchup, can you open it for me" and various other menial tasks, it was not so happy for me, but I didn't ask for a refund!

Although financially a lot tighter, Autumn should give me the motivation and time to re-assemble much of the Website and expand more. This will not be so much on the mainline subjects, but venturing off into other things via new Categories and the Blog etc. Hopefully, this will produce more a magazine effect with more regular and topical articles.

Next week Leo and I venture off to Belgium and France once again. Beside going there for the obvious savings in various things which are no good for you, we will be visiting Arras to gather some more information on where my Grandfathers fought in WW1. It's amazing what you can achieve in one day and in a strange way, it really does feel you're 'abroad'.

I'm now ordering up the Rayburn fuel, the usual 'make £100 worth last the whole winter' and by the last day of the Cricket Season, hope to have enough wood gathered and cut to last until at least the end of January. I never get enough for the whole winter. If I did, I would not experience the joy of wood collecting on a dry, sunny, yet cold day at the turn of the year.

Everything seems to be falling into place, but I've learnt from nearly ten years of experience that you never hold your breath. But life would be very boring and without challenge if it were all plain sailing !

PS. The kiss of death - it's chucking it down !

Going back to look at the future
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